Well the past two weekends have been insanely busy and productive.  Probably the most reassuring development has been the resolution of the snake issue.  After numerous "snake rodeos" (catch, relocate and release) the property appears to be snake free.  There have been none seen nor caught for over two weeks now.  This coming week we'll have the perimeter of the house sprayed with a repellent to keep them out in the fields where they belong, not slithering around our foundation.

The living room actually looks like a living room.  Three new leather loveseat recliners (real comfy), fireplace stonework complete and flat panel LED screen, wall mounted above the mantel.  We actually watched an old movie I have on DVD ... "Unconquered".  Entertaining with good old American values.  No cable or satellite hook-up, just a DVD/BlueRay player.  It's just enough for watching movies and hunting videos.

The deer stand is progressing at a steady rate.  With a maximum height of 16', a narrow foot print (4' x 8'), an extremely top heavy load (lumber, equipment and two hunters) and subject to strong winds blowing across the open pasture and upper field, I'm taking every precaution to stabilize and brace the framwork.  It's undoubtedly way over engineered, so it will take one helluva storm to knock it down.  Better safe than sorry.  We have some great pictures of it going up and will dedicate a post just to the stand when it's complete.

Saturday the 16th, Marian, Kellen, Jake and I attended Richie's son Matt's graduation party.  There were many parties that weekend and the next for graduation because to celebrate them any sooner would interfere with the crop planting and haying that needed to be done.  The entire community works around nature's farm clock. 

There was plenty of food and beer.  I brought along a bottle of JD since I can't enjoy beer anymore.  Matt and his brothers built a rather impressive waterslide.  It terminated in a small mud hole at the bottom of a long hill. 

The local boys had some amazing pick-ups parked near the pole barn.  Some trucks were jack-up so high off the ground you absolutely needed a ladder to get in.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that at least one of them had doors that were higher than my shoulders.

I met some quirky and interesting people.  John and Marilyn, a very pleasant couple who left the rat race and retired up here years ago.  John was a big game hunter with interesting stories about his safaris in Africa.  He almost got caught up in the termoil of rebellion when the rebels demanded he relinquish his kill of a Cape Town water buffalo.  His outfitter managed to finesse their way out of a tight situation when surrounded by "teens" carrying AK-47's. 

I commented on the rather unique/flashy belt buckle John was wearing.  A broad smile came to his face as he proceeded to tell me it was custom made for him in south Africa.  He unbuckled it to show that it was actually a set of "brass knuckles" with a 7" drop point blade that's hidden behind the leather of the  belt.  Whoa!  He said it was for getting out of sticky situations.  I was enjoying the JD and he joined me in a drink, straight up, my kinda guy.  He said he had just acquired a case of a bourbon called "Virginia Gentleman" and offered to get a bottle to me via Richie.  I can't wait, John said it's real nice sipping whiskey.  His wife Marilyn was a charming lady, she prefers her bourbon mixed with a Coke.

While Jake and Kellen were taking on some of the good ole boys down at the horseshoe pit, Marian and I continued to eat,drink and chat.  We were introduced to a gentleman named George.  He was adjusting to having recently lost his wife of many years.  He's another real interesting guy.  Although he said he was "retired" from the real estate and property management business, he still attends local farm auctions and is investing in more land up in the Red Hand vicinity.  He helped Richie acquire the land we were on for the party.  George owned multiple buildings with rentals of over 45 units in the NYC boroughs.  He was a wheeler dealer who made out quite well.  He invited us to stop in on his farm and to hunt it for turkey in the fall and spring.  He hunts deer exclusively.

Then the fireworks display started.  This was classic old school stuff.  A hand full of 1/2 lit rednecks towed a flatbed behind a pick-up, up the hill to start lighting them off.  They had some major rockets and mortars going mostly up.  It was when they took to launching them by holding the firing tubes that things got real interesting.  You know the old adage ... "It's funny until someone gets hurt, then it's hilarious".  Well luckily it stayed funny, no one was hurt.  However, one misguided launch sent a rocket into the party tent and another launch sent a mortar directly at Jake, Kellen and our truck!!!  Good luck prevailed as it hit the windshield of the pick-up parked in front of them and deflected it back into the air before it detonated.  The evening came to a close and even though I felt OK, one look at what was left in the bottle of Jack and it was decided I wasn't driving home. 

Jake took another woodchuck from our hay field this weekend .  He got it mid-afternoon while I went into town for supplies.  They are such a nuisance because of the large holes they make.  They burrow into the side of the small hills and because of this location, their entry holes can easily flip a farm tractor as well as a UTV or an ATV.  Very dangerous, we need to remove most, if not all, of them. 

Met with Richie on Sunday morning to go over the selected fields to be plowed.  Hoping to prep and seed them within the next two weeks.  Then a basic clean-up, pack-up and we were headed off back to N.J. and our real jobs. 



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